Brett Siegel

Brett Siegel

Brett has an MA in Cinematic Arts (Critical Studies) from USC. Exhilarated by the arts, he is an avid scholar, writer, critic, and teacher of Film/TV.

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Brett Siegel

Cool list! I like the all-inclusive balance of heroes and villains, drama and comedy (though surely Pixar should have earned a nod or two to rep the animated characters!). Love that Daniel Plainview is so high. Between him and Bill the Butcher (and I suppose Lincoln), Daniel Day Lewis has definitely been responsible for the most indelible characters of late, though I suppose Christoph Waltz is giving him a run for his money!

The 20 Greatest Film Characters of the Last 20 Years
Brett Siegel

I agree that satire seems to be somewhat of a dying art form and that nobody could do satire quite like Kubrick. That said, I do think similar genres like black comedy are alive and well with the likes of Paul Thomas Anderson, Spike Jonze, David Fincher, and of course Martin Scorsese. These directors definitely get a kick out of pushing grim situations and twisted individuals to the brink of humor, often to the point where the line between comedy and drama blurs considerably. Though their films may lack the immediate social satire of films like Strangelove and Clockwork, they often tackle both relevant and topical societal issues.

Stanley Kubrick and Satire: Comedic takes on Grim Social Issues
Brett Siegel

Very well put. I completely agree that the ending is the finest moment of Hanks’ career. It’s such an edge-of-your-seat thriller that we’re not given much of an opportunity to come up for air. When Phillips is finally rescued, we’re expecting some kind of catharsis or emotional release, but Hanks doesn’t give it to us. His reaction is as intense as the two hours leading up to it. We know he’s safe but we still can’t come up for air.

Captain Phillips Review: Subverting the Male Action Hero
Brett Siegel

The 3-D craze has been a fascinating phenomenon, mostly because nine times out of ten it seems to be industrially motivated. It’s a great way to tack a hefty upcharge onto ticket sales and give audiences the impression that their money’s going to a one-of-a-kind cinematic experience, as you say. I think people are beginning to see through the strategy, though, and are starting to veer back to 2-D when given the chance. That being said, every year there seems to be a truly magnificent 3-D experience that justifies the use of the technology (not to mention the extra charge). Last year it was Life of Pi. This year it’s Gravity. Hopefully, studios will save their colossal 3-D budgets for passion projects like these with directors who genuinely care about using the technology as a narrative and aesthetic function, rather than just a transparent attempt to dig deeper into our pockets.

Gravity: A New Cinematic Experience?
Brett Siegel

Just want to correct a goof in the above article: Dexter’s series finale aired on September 22nd and Breaking Bad’s on September 29th, not on the same day as stated.

The Series Finale: Where Last Impressions Matter Most
Brett Siegel

I love that you incorporated comedic protagonists into a category that’s typically only discussed in dramatic terms. I think the “antihero” trend has impacted comedy as much as it has drama, permeating animated shows with deadbeat dads (Family Guy) and despicable children (South Park), cable with really terrible friends (It’s Always Sunny, The League, Workaholics) and even network with the Charlie Sheen Two and a Half Men types.

Top 7 Morally Ambiguous Television Protagonists
Brett Siegel

This is my kind of thread! But where’s the love for Restless!! I’ve always put the brilliant Season 4 finale up there with “event” episodes like Hush, The Body, and Once More With Feeling (probably no coincidence that these are all Joss Whedon eps). It’s masterful in the way that it weaves together everything that had come to pass thus far while teasing and foreshadowing the major developments to come, not to mention emphatically slamming the door on Riley and the lame initiative arc. As a pure stylistic exercise, the highly symbolic dream episode rivals the best the show had to offer, and (in pure Buffy fashion) it’s completely character and relationship-driven.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Ten Iconic Episodes
Brett Siegel

This is a fun rundown! I actually think the words “A Pixar Short” carry as much weight as “A Pixar Film” these days. I always look forward to the shorts just as much (if not more) than I do the films and I’ve found that in recent years the shorts actually have the edge on the films in terms of Pixar’s trademark ingenuity. They’re such a classic example of visual storytelling, a kind of throwback to the silent era and the “golden age” shorts that made movie-going such a visual experience. These shorts are so refreshing when compared to the animation out there that relies so much on dialogue (not to mention pop culture references).

Pixar Shorts: The Adverts That Made Cinema History